Bethlehem eyes tourist boom after dark decade
BETHLEHEM, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - After a decade of unrest, Bethlehem has seen a surge in visits to Christ's traditional birthplace, raising hopes of a tourism bonanza in the West Bank town despite Israel's separation barrier.
The Palestinian territories' top tourist destination is a victim of the barrier which cuts off the town from nearby Jerusalem, just 10 kilometres away.
Israel began work on its sprawling barrier - dubbed the "apartheid wall" by Palestinians - in 2002 at the height of the second intifada, or uprising.
It defends the construction as a crucial protective measure, pointing to a drop in attacks inside Israel as proof of its success.